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Oral history interview with Sidonia Benedek

Oral History | Accession Number: 1993.A.0087.7 | RG Number: RG-50.091.0007

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Sidonia Benedek, born in 1924 in Caraseu, Rumania in the region of Transylvania, describes her large, religious family; her father’s role as the spiritual leader of the community; her happy childhood, having many friends, and doing well in school; her family supporting themselves through a small family farm and being very well-respected by both Jews and gentiles; first seeing antisemitism when Jews in Bucharest, Romania, were killed in 1937; the lack of physically-threatening antisemitism in Caraseu; her teachers having to fight for her status as class valedictorian; the fear and sadness in the Caraseu Jewish community; Germany's influence in the region growing and the Jews suffering the loss of rights and privileges; her family being split up and deported in 1944; the deportation of her brother and brother-in-law to work camps (her brother-in-law survived and her brother did not); the deportation of others to a ghetto in Szatmar (Satu Mare, Romania); her family being transported after five weeks to Auschwitz; her parents, two sisters, and her sisters’ children being killed immediately; surviving the camps along with her younger sister and younger brother; another brother dying in a forced labor camp in Russia; being sent to work in Stutthof, and then to Prost to build an airport; being evacuated in a two-week march during January 1945; escaping with her sister and being liberated by the Russian Army; returning home and reuniting with her brother; reuniting with a childhood friend, Les Benedek, whom she married in September 1945; her brother-in-law (who survived the forced labor camp) moving to New York; her younger brother, Martin Lax, who left Romania in 1946 and lived in Austria for several years before moving to the United States (Cleveland, Ohio) in 1949; leaving Romania in 1965 with her husband and three children (Aliz Benedek, Michael Benedek, and Vera Benedek); and settling in Cleveland.

Interviewee
Sidonia Benedek
Interviewer
Abraham Kay
Date
1984 September 10  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
3 videocassettes (U-Matic) : sound, color ; 3/4 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the National Council of Jewish Women Cleveland Section